Wildfire evacuation orders lifted in Oklahoma

Ken Miller, Associated Press Modified: August 5, 2012 at 3:51 pm •  Published: August 5, 2012
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photo - Brandy West drinks water in front of the burned home of her mother.  West was on the property shortly after sunrise to begin searching for salvageable items, mostly documents and her mother's belongings  from inside the three bedroom frame house at 1006. S. Douglas Street. Her parents had lived in this house for 30 years before fire destroyed it.  Residents  in Luther were allowed to return to the their homes early Saturday, Aug. 4, 2012, after they fled a rapidly moving wildfire yesterday that consumed at least seven structures on South Dogwood Street, leaving smoldering ashes where family homes once stood.  
 Photo by Jim Beckel, The Oklahoman.
Brandy West drinks water in front of the burned home of her mother. West was on the property shortly after sunrise to begin searching for salvageable items, mostly documents and her mother's belongings from inside the three bedroom frame house at 1006. S. Douglas Street. Her parents had lived in this house for 30 years before fire destroyed it. Residents in Luther were allowed to return to the their homes early Saturday, Aug. 4, 2012, after they fled a rapidly moving wildfire yesterday that consumed at least seven structures on South Dogwood Street, leaving smoldering ashes where family homes once stood. Photo by Jim Beckel, The Oklahoman.
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Many Oklahomans forced to leave their homes because of raging wildfires were being allowed to return Sunday, despite some fires continuing to burn.

A “monster” fire had devoured almost 91 square miles and continued to burn between Mannford and Kellyville in northeastern Oklahoma's Creek County as light rain and cooler temperatures gave firefighters a brief respite Sunday, said Oklahoma Forestry Services spokeswoman Michelle Finch-Walker.

She described the blaze as hopscotching as it burns some areas and leaves others untouched.

“It's not like an inferno moving across the landscape,” Finch-Walker said. “You can drive for miles down the highway and see nothing but black, but then you can see pockets of green, pockets unburned.

“Maybe there was a creek (that stopped the fire),” she said. “Maybe the wind blew it in a different direction.”

Finch-Walker said residents of the town of Mannford, which was evacuated Saturday, had been allowed to return and that she was not aware of any other evacuation orders.

Officials with the Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management did not immediately return phone calls Sunday seeking comment.

Nigel Holderby, a spokeswoman for the American Red Cross, said shelters remained open Sunday in Payne County, about 35 miles to the west.

Finch-Walker said three firefighters were treated and released Friday after suffering burns, but there had been no reports of serious injuries as a result of wildfires statewide. Since late last week, as many as 18 fires have been reported.

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